Positive Impacts of the Microsoft Corporation

by Steve Lander

Over the years, Microsoft has been placed under a great deal of scrutiny. Members of the press and the public have, at times, rejoiced in its failures. At the same time, governments all of the world have taken on Microsoft in court over anti-trust concerns. However, even given its occasional image as a corporate behemoth, Microsoft has done a great deal of good on many different levels.

Wealth Creation

A $987 investment in Microsoft stock at the time of its initial public offering on March 13, 1986 would be worth $379,008 at its $28 share price as of the close of business on March 8, 2013. This represent a 38,300 percent return on investment. In addition to the wealth that Microsoft has generated for its long-term shareholders, it has also created billions of dollars of income for the owners of buildings that it leases, the stores that sell its products, and the other computer and software companies that make related products.

Popularization of Computing

While Microsoft might not have been the first to initiate many technologies, its software frequently brought the technology to the forefront. Microsoft's text-based MS-DOS operating system was somewhat similar to the CP/M operating system, but it was MS-DOS that was behind the PC explosion in the 1980s. Windows, which had much in common with Apple's Mac OS, also popularized the graphical user interface to the extent that just about every computer runs it today.

Lowering Costs

While free software like the Linux operating system or the Apache OpenOffice.org and Google Documents office suites may make Microsoft software seem expensive, it has actually played a significant role in lowering the cost of software. Microsoft products, according to ZDNet, have historically been less expensive than comparable products from competitors like Apple or Oracle. In addition, the large number of products bundled into Microsoft software saves users from having to buy additional software.

Innovation

Microsoft has a history of innovation. In 2013, Steve Wozniak commented that Microsoft may now be more innovative than Apple, the company he co-founded. Furthermore, Microsoft's presence in many markets keeps competitive pressure on other companies to innovate as well. For example, the Wii and PlayStation are better game systems in part because they have to compete with Microsoft's Xbox, while Microsoft's Bing search engine keeps pressure on Google to keep improving.

About the Author

Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.

Photo Credits

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